Hiring Challenges?  Think Employee Retention Now
By Cathy Ashbaugh, Technology Staffing Solutions, CONEXiS, Inc.

According to some recent national studies, the cost to replace an employee can range from 30 to 200% of their salary.  In addition to obvious expenses such as advertising and recruitment fees, there is also damage to the organization that is harder to track -- but costly just the same. Many companies have enjoyed minimal turnover rates these past 2 years due to the downturn in the economy and risk adverse workforce.  Although employee satisfaction is at an all time low, few have been willing to take the risk of leaving their stable positions for the unknown.  As hiring continues to improve through 2011, however, companies will need to take strong measures to retain top talent in their organizations.

Here are some key indicators to keep an eye out for as you are examining your workforce:

1. Increased Workload and Pressure on Remaining Staff—Potential for Burnout

2. Questioning by Staff:  Maybe I should look, too? More Possible Turnover

3. Inability to Meet Deadlines Resulting in Lower Customer Satisfaction, Reduced Sales

4. Loss of Expertise, IP and Future Ideas. Your Competitor is Now Benefiting   

5. Higher Turnover Sends a Negative Signal to Prospective Hires.  Why are People Leaving?

Why worry now?  Chances are your turnover rates have been lower than normal since 2000 – however, this is likely to change.  According to BLS, Employee Satisfaction is at an all time low—with some reports stating that up to 40% of all employed workers in the US are “dissatisfied with their current position/company/salary/workload, etc. and plan to make a change when the market improves.” If we are to believe the current economic reports, hiring in the Technology sector will be in full swing by 2011.  Recently, we've seen an increase in the number of passive job seekers, those who “are in a stable job, but who might consider a better opportunity” and hiring companies are taking advantage.


1. Overworked—As a result of downsizing, lack of hiring and cost cutting measures overall, many employees are feeling overworked and under-appreciated.  Stress levels are rising and home lives suffering; employee satisfaction is low.   Overall, people are trying to get their work lives and personal lives back into balance.

2. Lack of Salary Increases—Raises have been minimal or non-existent for the past couple of years. Not only that, benefits, bonus and other perks have decreased.  While most employees realize the necessity of these cost cutting measures and have been willing to comply, they also have a need to get back on track, financially and professionally.

3. Lack of Challenge, Interesting Projects, New Technology, etc.  In general, good technology professionals consistently look for ways to grow, improve their skills and move forward in their careers.


1. Hire Additional Employees or Contractors to Ease the Burden—If your team is working too many hours and/or under a lot of stress, get help. If you don’t have headcount to hire full time individuals, bring in contract resources.  The extra help will provide relief to your team and allow you to clear up some pending projects and move on with new challenges.

2. Deliver a “State of the Union” Message—Make sure your employees know the condition of the company, and of any growth plans, new sales, new products, purchases, career plans, etc.  Many employees mistakenly believe the grass is greener on the other side because a) companies put their best foot forward when courting potential employees throughout the interview process and b) their own employers neglect  to share information about forward progress.  Use positive information to engage and re-energize your existing staff. Don’t wait until you are faced with making a counteroffer to let someone know you appreciate them and have plans for their career.

3. Show Appreciation—Not every company can offer a raise just yet, or reinstate bonuses and 401K plans, but EVERYONE can take a moment to say “Thanks, I appreciate your work.” Something simple—time off, movie tickets or just a kind word can assure your employees that they are wanted and needed.

Taking steps to retain your top employees now will save you money now, as well as time, energy and headaches in the future.  The team at CONEXiS is here to help you and your team through the acquisition of key staffing resources--Contract, Project or Direct Hire. In addition, we can pass along Resources that may help you to develop and implement an Employee Retention Strategy for your firm.   Contact us at any time to discuss your needs!